Monday, 10 February 2014

Cambridge MP Newsletter: Tackling Fuel Poverty, Pedestrian Safety, Talking About Mental Health And Cambridgeshire School Funding

Time To Talk

Paving the Way for Pedestrian Safety

Together with 2016 Paralympics hopeful Claire Cannon, I have been running a campaign to Fix Our Pavements. Cambridge’s unmaintained and uneven walkways present persistent dangers for people using them, especially those who are wheelchair-bound, using pushchairs or are visually-impaired. Having spent a morning in a wheelchair myself, I realised just how bad it could be, and this week I led a parliamentary debate in Westminster to put pressure on the Government to take a lead in this area. I’m happy to see the campaign gaining traction and while we must continue to put pressure on the County Council to act, this is a problem faced by people across the country as well.

To sign the petition, support the campaign or report broken pavements near you click here.

Fair Funding for Cambridgeshire's Schools

Pupils in Cambridgeshire get the least funding of anywhere in the country - £600 per pupil per year less than the English average. We've been underfunded for decades, and it stops our schools being able to do as well as they should do, especially when it comes to helping kids who are struggling. I've been campaigning on this for years, and have had a series of meetings with Michael Gove and David Laws, as well as officials from the Department for Education. I'm hoping for some good news soon - watch this space!

It's Time to Talk about Mental Health

Last Thursday marked the UK’s first ever “Time to Talk Day,”aimed at erasing the stigma attached to discussing mental health in our daily conversations. Mental health needn't be a topic so difficult to discuss, and making time for something as simple as a quick chat over a cup of tea can make a huge difference. I took the time to sit down with some of my staff to talk about young people’s attitudes to mental health. There’s still a huge barrier to people feeling that they can speak openly about how they feel. With one in four of us experiencing mental health issues each year, we must feel the confidence to speak out when we need help.

Tackling Fuel Poverty in Cambridge

We all know that rising energy prices make household bills increasingly difficult to afford and that it’s vital we help families avoid falling into fuel poverty. “Mind the Gap,” a campaign aimed at helping Cambridge residents understand and tackle fuel poverty, came to Westminster on Monday to promote a variety of financial assistance programmes eligible families can apply for as well as useful tips families can employ to reduce their energy use without succumbing to the cold.

Given the urgency of this issue, I was pleased to see the campaign coincide with the Energy Bill Revolution Alliance’s “Cold Homes Week” event, which organised meetings inside Westminster and around the UK to highlight the millions of British families currently living in fuel poverty and encourage energy efficiency solutions. Promoting energy efficiency is the best way to save people money.